American Idol season 10 auditions are quickly nearing, leaving many speculating about who will replace long-time judge Simon Cowell, who retired at the end of last season.
Rumored candidates are Justin Timberlake, Elton John, Usher, Harry Connick Jr., Chris Isaak, Jennifer Lopez, Nigel Lythgoe, or Shania Twain.
As much as American Idol fans would love to see Justin Timberlake’s face grace their TV screens weekly, reps for Timberlake say he’s “100% not interested” in taking the gig, despite the rumors.
Sources say Elton John is someone AI has been after for quite some time, but have been unable to come to a financial agreement. Someone of Elton John’s stature would be pretty pricey.
Nigel Lythgoe, who currently produces and judges the hit reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance, is said to be close to a deal to work on the producing side of the show, and the idea of him judging as well doesn’t seem very unrealistic. Lythgoe already has history with American Idol. He helped launch the U.K. version “Pop Idol” along with creator Simon Fuller.
Rumors are circulating that Fuller and Fox are talking about not replacing Simon Cowell and just dumping the entire judges panel. Lythgoe told a reporter in April that if he was in charge, he would replace all the remaining judges.
Sources say Randy Jackson, who has another year left on his contract, is the most likely to survive any purge.
Ellen DeGeneres would be difficult to dump, as she has a multiyear deal at the network.
Kara DioGuardi’s year-to-year deal has yet to be renewed for the 10th season.